Fight between 85-yearold landlord, Lebanese firm over Lagos property gets messier

ByIda G. Payne

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The assets on 33 Balogun Avenue, Lagos, is in dispute. There are two claimants. Although the Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams’ loved ones needs their asset handed back again to them, the Lebanese firm, which supposedly leased it, statements the residence had prolonged been bought to them. Taiwo Hassan, who has been adhering to the disagreement, experiences

For the previous Main Healthcare Director of Unity Healthcare facility, Lagos, Dr. Charles Oladeinde Williams, it is been a tug-of-war making an attempt to reclaim his inheritance. His father, late Clarence Olatunde Williams, inherited the home with his siblings from their own father, James Wilson. His father, and his uncle, Charles Adeyinka Wilson, as well as his aunts, Florence Aduke Bajomo (Nee Williams) and Adenike Wilson, experienced leased the property to Mohammed El-Khalil and other folks in 1953.

The lease was for 50 decades. And the 10-storey building was on 3/5, Bankole Road, Lagos, at that time. The street experienced considering the fact that been rearranged and it is now on 33 Balogun Avenue. Williams Snr. and his siblings had declared them selves homeowners of the aforementioned home by inheritance under native regulations and customs. But in 1953, they granted a 50-year lease of the residence to Messrs Mohammed El-Khalil and Ramiz Moukarim.

Even so, a minimal around three several years (1956) following the execution of the 1953 lease, Moukarim and El-Khalil allegedly claimed to have out rightly procured the home from Williams’ father and his siblings the exact brothers and sisters who manufactured the 1952 Declaration and signed the 1953 lease. But Williams has maintained that he experienced no expertise of the purported sale of the home, insisting that the Lebanese had been occupying the constructing under the 1953 lease.

At the expiration of the lease on March 31, 2003, the Lebanese, Williams mentioned, refused to vacate the property, prompting him to formally notify them of the expiration of the lease, when at the exact same time requesting them to vacate the residence. Williams reported: “We approached the Lebanese to get back our home, but their reaction was disheartening. Alternatively of complying, they claimed that the home had been offered to their progenitor 3 several years into the lease agreement. This, they explained, was perfected in 1956.

They drew our attention to the 1956 Deed of Transfer less than which they claimed the assets was offered to them.” Anxious by the transform of activities, the 85-yr-previous Williams conducted a look for at the lands Registry, Alausa, Ikeja, but what he identified out was extra confounding. It was uncovered, in accordance to him, that the Deed of Transfer of title was without a doubt registered by the Lebanese as the rightful proprietors of the residence, barely 3 years immediately after the commencement of the 50-yr lease by the Williams’ relatives.

Not happy with what they observed, the Williams went to obtain a copy of the 1956 Deed of Transfer and forwarded identical to the Forensic Science Laboratory of the Nigerian Police, Alagbon, Lagos, for more scrutiny and to confirm the authenticity of the signatures of his father and his father’s siblings and when compared with individuals on the 1953 lease. After the analysis of the forensic report, the Police concluded that the signatures on the 1956 intended Deed of Transfer of title were being solely different from all those on the 1952 declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease.

They subsequently declared that the 1956 Deed of Transfer was forged. A different seeming abnormality that caught Williams’ eyes was the failure of the 1956 Deed of Transfer to terminate or even make any form of reference to the 1953 Deed of Lease, which ordinarily ought to have been the case.

It was also discovered that the Lebanese inadvertently misrepresented or wrongly described Williams’ aunt, Adenike Wilson, as “Anike Wilson” in the purported 1956 Deed of Transfer irrespective of the simple fact that in the 1952 Declaration and 1953 Lease, the very same aunt was persistently described as Adenike Wilson. It was the blend of the Law enforcement findings and these contradictions that prompted Williams to approach the Substantial Court docket of Lagos State to seek to void it and to recuperate their family’s house.

On March 8, 2012, the household commenced a go well with at the Significant Court of Lagos Point out, towards El-Khalil & Sons Houses Confined and three some others. They involved the particular associates of the Estate of Mohammed El-Khalil, individual representatives of the Estate of Ramiz Moukarim and the Registrar of Titles, Lands Registry of Lagos State as defendants. Williams had approached the court looking for repossession of the property. The lawful struggle spanned 7 yrs prior to the courtroom delivered its judgement in the go well with on December, 6, 2019, in favour of Williams and his household.

A glance at the summary of the history on which the lawful battle was fought as demonstrated in a courtroom doc made accessible to this newspaper indicated that Williams is a descendant of one James Wilson, the authentic operator of the house in dispute. By the way, the Lebanese company, according to Williams, experienced refused to hand over the residence to him and his household and has given that been disheartening the court docket get on the justification that they had appealed the judgement at the Court of Attraction, Lagos.

At the listening to of the suit, the two Williams and the Lebanese called for forensic proof in regard of the authenticity or in any other case of the signatures on the 1956 Deed of Transfer as when compared to the signatures on the 1952 Declaration and the 1953 Deed of Lease. But in a somewhat weird twist, the forensic medical doctor identified as by the defendants testified beneath crossexamination right before the trial court docket that the signatures on the Deed of Transfer had been so various from the signatures on the 1953 Lease “that there was no foundation for any comparison involving the two sets of signatures.” After the judgement, the defendants submitted an attraction at the Court of Attractiveness, Lagos Division, trying to find to overturn the ruling. They also utilized for a remain of execution of the judgement of the trial court docket pending the outcome of that appeal.

Yet, at the hearing of the software for remain of execution, the defendants informed the demo court that they had been ready to deposit a lender promise with the registrar of the demo court docket for the judgement sum pending the consequence of their attractiveness.

Incidentally, Williams did not oppose the defendants’ proposal that a lender warranty ought to be deposited in the account of the registrar of the court docket. He simply additional a further more issue that the management of the property ought to be vested in a reputable estate administration company, when the charm is pending before the Court docket of Enchantment. Curiously and notably, the defendants did not also item to or contest this more ailment. In its ruling shipped on February 17, the demo court, among the other points, granted a conditional remain in line with the proposals of the get-togethers. The decide designed an buy to the effect that the judgement sum and curiosity accruing on it up till the judgement should really be deposited in just 7 times via a bank draft in the identify of the Chief Registrar of the Significant Courtroom of Lagos Point out.

He also explained that the administration of the home should really be vested in a dependable estate business to be appointed by the Chief Registrar of the Courtroom. Having said that, the defendants, it was even more learnt, launched a second enchantment, this time, towards the order of conditional continue to be granted by the trial court docket almost on the defendants’ individual terms.

The defendants’ counsel, Main Tunde Olojo of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi, Kusamotu, Olojo & Co, on December 9, 2019, sent a notice with Appeal No: Match No: LD/331/2012 to the Court docket of Enchantment, Lagos, a duplicate of which is in possession of Saturday Telegraph. They, as a result of their lawyers, mentioned they have been dissatisfied with the final decision of the Superior Court docket of Lagos Point out, contained in the judgement by Justice Candide-Johnson, delivered on December 6, 2019.

According to Counsel to Khalil: “The discovered trial judge erred in legislation when he held that 1st Respondent- Dr. C.O Williams has the locus standi to institute the motion for and on behalf of the alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. The 1st respondent in the course of the demo did not provide any death certificate to establish the demise of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. In the Detect of Charm, the 1st respondent did not also direct proof of any probate/letter of administration as the executor/beneficiary of the estate of any of his alleged deceased predecessors-in-title. “Also, the 1st respondent did not tender any letter of Administration to display that the 3rd Appellant is a beneficiary of the estates of both 1st and 2nd Appellant. So, the learned trial judge erred in law when he held that the 1st respondent has established a situation of forgery versus the 1st -3rd Appellants and that the doctrine of genuineness did not avail them.” In a different twist on the other hand, Williams petitioned the Federal Govt as a result of the Business office of the Inspector Typical of Law enforcement (IGP). He especially asked the IGP, Mohammad Adamu, to preserve him in the arms of Lebanese descendants of El-Khalil, whom, he mentioned, have refused to launch his family’s residence soon after the expiration of their 50-calendar year-previous lease agreement. The petition also handles that of forgery, fraudulent conversion of assets and acquiring by pressure pretence. In the petition dated August 28, and duly signed by him, a copy of which was created available to Saturday Telegraph, confirmed that he was declaring that the corporation of M. El-Khalil & Sons Homes Restricted forged a Deed of Transfer dated December 2, 1956, and has been professing possession of and occupying his family’s home given that then dependent on the forged titled doc. Williams equally claimed that the business, M. El-Khalil & Sons Homes Restricted, now managed by Francis Uzom of Frank Harden Constrained and Obinna Chima experienced relied on fake assert of ownership of the residence to pocket big money running into billions of naira in rents collection from unsuspecting tenants at the assets. “They have been attempting to market the explained assets dependent on the said forged title files,” he additional alleged. He reported that his attempts to warn the occupants of the home and the typical community, especially probable house consumers about the declare of ownership by M. El-Khalil & Sons Properties Limited, have led to a number of threats of demise directed at him by officers of the mentioned business. Whilst responding to the weighty allegations, the Lebanese speaking through their attorney, Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq of Elubode B. Omoboriowo Esq, Shinkafi and Kusamotu Olojo & Co, dismissed the dying claims allegation in his interview with our reporter. In accordance to him, “This is a lie that was nicely fabricated. In reality, the allegation is not only a lie, but also fake and baseless. It is a finish lie from the air.” Omoboriowo did not only rubbish Williams’ claims on residence forgery, but insisted that, “It is a fabricated lies that can not be demonstrated by him at the regulation courtroom for the reason that M. El-Khalil & Sons Houses Restricted is a enterprise and if he is insisting that a firm solid a certificate like he claimed, so why did not he occur out and point out a director (s) or team of the corporation that did it in M. El-Khalil & SONS Attributes Minimal and the so-referred to as director or staff members will come out publicly to acknowledge or deny that.” The attorney explained that the claimant has no evidence of proof to that result as he’s using the threat to lifetime as a ploy to achieve sympathy subsequent his customers go to appeal the Superior Courtroom of Lagos Judgement. “There is no iota of truth of the matter in that,” he included. Omoboriowo instructed our reporter that the case is now in the Courtroom of Charm and that it is previously slated for listening to on December 14. “We are prepared to take it up to the Supreme Court docket for the reason that our shoppers have a strong case to upturn the judgement in their favour following the trim victory that Williams is savoring more than the Higher Court docket judgement that gave him just one of the lands on the home.” On the coming December 14, Appeal hearing, Omoboriowo explained: “My customers have a potent situation from him to upturn the judgement as a make any difference of fact. That is why we are treading the line of professionalism, the line of the law and not resorting to push, law enforcement and listed here and there. He’s the a single that goes about chatting as outdated as he is. We are likely to upturn it by the grace of God. The situation is even now going to the Supreme Court and we are going to overturn the preliminary judgement it is just a trim victory he has now.” Lately, Williams has also complained of other alleged underhand dealings by the Lebanese. For instance, during the time period when the scenario was before the demo court, he mentioned, the defendants, under the guise of a bogus settlement initiative, delayed the listening to of the scenario for a significant size of time. He also claimed that the Lebanese at some stage re-configured the house to accommodate much more tenants from whom rents working into hundreds of thousands and thousands ended up collected by the defendants. Just after the defendants were being carried out with the configuration of the house and had let out the newly included spaces to tenants, all pretences in direction of amicable settlement of the dispute with Williams ended up completed away with by them as they returned to announce to the demo courtroom that the settlement initiative unsuccessful. Again, while their two appeals have been pending just before the Court of Charm, the defendants allegedly started off boasting to the tenants in the making and the people in the speedy setting that they were well prepared to maintain the scenario in court indefinitely as a result of the enchantment course of action. They even pointed to the notoriously sluggish judicial process in the place, to generate dwelling their issue, Williams alleged. “They claimed that presented my innovative age, it is virtually unachievable for me to see the end of the situation in my life span,” he more explained to our reporter. But the threats and needs of dying notwithstanding, Williams thinks that the identical Almighty God, who saved him alive during the duration of the situation at the trial courtroom, would maintain him by means of the attraction procedures until his ultimate vindication by the Court of Charm, and if require be, the Supreme Courtroom. Williams mentioned that he was steadfast in his belief that though the wheels of justice may perhaps switch slowly but surely, they do, in simple fact, turn exceedingly fine, saying that his faith in God and the judicial technique had never ever been more powerful. Omoboriowo however, stated that his clients’ firm has been in possession and profession of the similar residence considering that 1966 without the need of any challenge or disturbance from Williams’ alleged predecessors’ intitle or the Claimant. He insisted that his business carried out a normal mend in the tune of N150 million for the trespass and lawful execution carried out by the Claimant and/or his brokers on the influenced assets in December 2009. In accordance to him, the Claimant lacks the locus standi to institute or begin any situation from them in that he is not a get together to any of the transactions (title paperwork) when signing the deed of settlement in 1953 was carried out. Assistant property supervisor of M. El-Khalil & Sons (homes) Limited, Obinna Chima, on his component stated that there is absolutely nothing in any of the files placed just before the Court by Williams from whom the Court docket could discover or infer any connection or relationship in between the Claimant and his alleged predecessors-in-title. This, the Lebanese’ attorneys, agreed with, when they mentioned that this action is statute barred in that the cause of action which is difficult the authenticity of the Deed of transfer of Freehold dated November 2, 1956, arose 55 years back. The learned law firm argued that this match quantities to an abuse of the procedure of the Courtroom in that the notices to give up and see of owner’s intent to implement to get well possession on which this motion is launched were purportedly served for the duration of the pendency of fit No LD/2144/05 (Dr. C.O. Williams vs M. El-Khalil & ORS) in which the mentioned fit, functions and the issue issue are the identical as in the instantaneous suit and also a Notice of Attraction submitted by the Claimant which has not been withdrawn. On the other hand, a stop by to the home in problem by our reporter, showed that it is a 10-storey creating with shop space ranging from N3 million to N15 million for each annum with traders of all types occupying the residence. The traders sell largely footwear, bags, leather, garments, jewellery accessories, and occupy every floor of the building.


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